My thoughts have been cycling wildly since the announcement of XXXtentacion's death. There's such an eerie feeling that daunts me when my social media timelines are covered in R.I.P. sentiments and while I always encourage people to express their condolences, I have to admit that this time around my thoughts were boggled by the discourse that was surfacing around his tragic death.
I should've probably preference that I wasn't a fan of XXX (and not for any particular reason, I guess I just never paid enough attention to claim the STAN status). However, I've seen the controversy that his name was involved in and I've read some of the domestic violence allegations. It saddens me to read tweets that suggested that he was nothing to be sad over because his life didn't matter due to some of his decisions. Right or wrong, alleged or true that statement just doesn't sit well with me. Personally speaking, this idea of someone's life not mattering is most troubling to me. It happens all the time, as a society we decide who matters and who doesn't and if we're honest we make these decisions long before a person's last breath. When I took some time to revisit some of XXX's music, it was apparent that he had his encounters with depression (as many of us do) and so I wondered, who and how many cared when he was alive.
Again I wasn't a fan, so much of his music and even personal life wasn't on my radar, but I found it quite interesting to see the wide range of love and appreciation for his contributions once his fatality was announced. I question if anyone checked in on him while he was alive. It's the same sentiments that linger each and every time I revisit Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black" album. I wonder if as collective she was receiving the support that perhaps she needed? I wonder if she was being judged more than encouraged and if so, how could role reversal save her some of the heartaches that she experienced while still breathing.
We hear the phrase "give them roses while they can still smell them" and I'd like to take it a step further and say give them your time, care and most genuine concern while they're still open to the promise of hope. Mental Wellness is real and too often do we look past people's manifestations of unhappiness. Too often, we know that life's stressors are putting our dear loved ones in a full nelson and somehow we chalk it up as "that's life and they'll be fine". It's so destructive and honestly heart-wrenching because on social media we'll cry out for change but in the intimate spaces of our own homes, we'll carry along as our friends are suffering.
Many stressors do come with life's guarantee and in many cases, a person will prove to be just fine, but in the meantime why should they carry a weight that is far too burdensome of a load. Why must we mentally suffer while living in this lifetime to only receive an immense amount of love post life? It's sickening to really consider, and what's more gruesome is that video footage of XXX's lifeless body was circling around the internet but no sense of urgency to sustain his life was visible.
Captions on Snapchat read "X shot", comments such as the video isn't adding up, as well as comments of no broken glass or gunshot penetration from civilians who aren't in any way qualified to assess a crime scene is disturbing. It's scary to think that maybe all of those comments of social media jading our humanity is true after all. Perhaps at the moment, it was more important to get footage of him being lifeless than to call 911? In the same vein perhaps, it's more comfortable to speak of someone's positive light once they're gone than to preserve that light by confronting their demons with them while they're still living. I'm just trying to figure this all out because I'm tired of casually watching social media eating away at our humanity. I'm tired of seeing hashtags and posts for a few days and no real documented change to follow. And I don't mean to preach on a soapbox because I too am very jaded, we've all grown accustomed to seeing disturbances on our media platforms. I'm just hoping that this eeriness that I feel keeps me motivated to journey through the darkness with those I love while I can instead of speaking out in their honor once their no longer here.